Have you ever had an experience when you realize “Oh, shoot. I’ve been wasting a ton of time!”
I’m sure you have. I certainly have.
Some of my marketing experiences have led me to conclude that some of my approaches were a total waste of time. I want to share a few of those with you.
Before I jump into it, though, I want to make a quick disclaimer.
Every business is different. You may be doing some of the things I describe here as a waste of time. That doesn’t mean they are a waste of time for you or your business.
Maybe your unique situation, your past successes, your target persona, etc., all suggest that you should keep up whatever you are doing. That is entirely your decision to make.
In other words, take this list with a grain of salt.
That being said, if you are interested in winning back some of your time and making your marketing ten times more effective, then read on!
1. You’re focusing on the wrong social media platform.
Ah, social media.
Would you believe that some people say social media marketing is a waste of time altogether?
I’m not going to go that far. My experience in social media marketing has been pretty positive.
However, there are ways of social media marketing that drain enormous amounts of time and revenue.
This is to say nothing of the time spent on our personal social media exploits. Maybe that’s a waste of time?
Instead, let’s talk about the platforms that you’re using for your social media marketing.
Are you using the right platform?
Everyone says, “You need to be using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.” And I agree.
Some say, “You’ve got to use Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Periscope.” And I sort of agree.
And some say, “You must use Snapchat, Vine, WhatsApp, and Twoo.” And I’m not sure if I agree or not.
What’s at the heart of the matter?
The deal is that there are hundreds of social media platforms. You have to choose the ones that are going to give you the best ROI.
Don’t assume that it will be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twoo. Instead, research the heck out of your target persona, and know for sure. Then, validate your research through real-world testing.
You have the potential to waste months of time and give up thousands of dollars in revenue by picking and sticking to the wrong social media channel.
2. You’re creating and pitching articles to the big publications.
If you’re into content marketing and guest blogging, good for you.
Personally, I’m a huge fan.
Here’s something that I learned, though. Pitching articles to the big publications can be a soul-sucking waste of time.
If you land a contributor spot with, say Forbes, Entrepreneur, FastCo., TechCrunch, etc., that’s great! It gives your personal brand and business a massive boost.
But that’s a big if. The editors of these publications deal with hundreds of eager applicants each day. Your chances of landing a spot are slim.
Most of the people who write for the big-name publications have been introduced by someone who knows someone or they’ve carved out an identity for themselves by starting some big company or something.
It takes hours to research the publication, create a unique article, find the right person to send it to, and wait for a response.
You’re probably wasting your time.
What should you do instead? Target the smaller and more accessible publications that are within your niche. These publications are more likely to accept your guest post. Besides, many of these publications are directly in line with your target audience.
3. You’re split testing tiny, insignificant things.
Split testing is awesome.
Wasting your time split testing is not awesome.
As game-changing as split testing can be, it’s a risky game. Why? Because it’s so tempting to test minutiae, to test the tiny things that won’t make a big difference to the big picture.
You’ve probably heard the stories of the guy who tested his button color and scored a 5,000% boost in conversions.
Okay, that doesn’t happen most of the time.
Those “secret” or “shocking” conversion optimization lists are fun to read, but risky to implement yourself.
What’s going to give you the biggest bang for your marketing time?
Testing macro conversions.
I recommend that you continue testing micro conversions, but focus your split testing on the larger actions.
Micro conversions are valuable insofar as they lead to macro conversions. But macro conversions are the money-makers and that’s why you should focus more time on them.
4. You’re using too many social media platforms.
I touched on this somewhat above. The more social media platforms you use, the more time you are potentially wasting.
Your target audience is probably only focusing on a few social media platforms. Your goal is to find those platforms, engage, and see some value.
If you spread yourself too thin across too many social media sites, you become less effective at any one.
You can end up wasting a lot of time.
Some of the most time-consuming social media activities are learning the platform, analyzing your efforts, and curating content to post.
The more platforms you use, the more time you expend on these efforts.
Watch your social media usage carefully. If you feel tempted to broaden your social media net to include more sites, make sure you’re seeing some ROI.
5. You’re not promoting your blog posts.
If you go to the effort of writing it, then you need to promote it.
If you don’t promote your content, then you’ve wasted all the time that you spent creating it.
One great example of content marketing is Buffer. Their blog posts are long, meaty, and rich with information and research.
Here’s how long it took Kevan Lee, Buffer blogger extraordinaire, to write some select blog posts.
You can see that he’s at around 3 hours for most blog posts, regardless of the word count.
The average 500 word post takes the average blogger from 1-2 hours.
Wherever you are on the time/content continuum, I can safely assume that you spend quite a bit of time creating your blog posts.
That’s okay. Keep on doing it. Increase your speed and output if you can, but keep putting in the time to create the posts.
The place where you’re wasting your time is in not promoting it.
It seems contradictory that you’re wasting your time by not doing something thattakes time, but it isn’t.
If you don’t promote your blog, then all the time that you spent writing it is wasted.
When you finish writing a blog post, you may feel a sensation of relief — a respite. You might say, “Ah. That’s done. Now, I can take a break.”
But in reality, your work has just begun. It’s time to promote, share, syndicate, inform, email, post, tweet, like, and spread the good news.
Kevan Lee of Buffer spends about seven minutes promoting his posts.
However, he has the benefit of an entire team to aid in promotion. Plus, he has an automated process.
Here’s how he explains it:
Each new post also goes out to our RSS email list. And this process happens automatically. Each new post is grabbed by MailChimp and sent out at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Systematizing and automating the marketing process can really speed things up, so give this a bit of attention as you seek to save time.
6. You’re reaching out to the wrong influencers.
Influencer marketing is a great way to augment your marketing strategy.
If you don’t do it correctly, however, it can create some pretty big problems.
I’ve worked with businesses who’ve wrecked their brand integrity by choosing the wrong influencers. You can read about some of the dangers of influencer marketing in my LinkedIn article on the subject.
The point that I want to focus on here is the time issue. It can seem like influencer marketing will save you time. After all, you’re relieving yourself of the time it takes to do marketing by letting influencers do it, right?
But what if you choose the wrong influencer? That produces the opposite desired-effect.
Besides, influencer marketing takes a lot of time by itself. Finding the influencers, determining how to contact them, reaching out to them, and pitching to them with an influencer proposal is very time-consuming.
Want to save some money? Then save some time.
There are plenty of things that can waste your time — WaitButWhy, MentalFloss, Buzzfeed, etc.
That’s okay, some of the time.
Don’t let your marketing activities be a waste of time. If executed properly, your marketing can be a lean, powerful, and efficient machine. It can generate leads, bring in customers, and make you money.
But instead, you’re spinning your wheels on stuff that doesn’t work, won’t work, and is just frustrating you.
This coming year, make it your goal to unleash the most effective marketing methods ever. Cut the fluff. Dispense with the time-wasters, and push ahead.
What things have you found to be total marketing time-wasters?